Zucker resigns as state health commissioner

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 11:00 AM EDT
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NEW YORK (WWNY) - New York’s health commissioner is resigning.

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the resignation of Dr. Howard Zucker at a briefing Thursday morning.

She said he has agreed to stay in the position until a replacement is named.

Hochul made it clear when she became governor last month that she wanted a new team for her administration. She said his resignation is part of that.

“He understands that in this time, I’ve wanted to take the first 45 days to assemble a new team going forward,” she said.

Zucker led the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic under then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“He’s been a dedicated public servant for over seven-and-a-half years,” Hochul said of Zucker. “He worked hard through the pandemic, and I want to thank him for his service on behalf of the people of the state.”

Zucker’s work on the state’s pandemic response hasn’t been without controversy.

Zucker and Cuomo came under fire for the way the state managed COVID-19 in nursing homes, both in how the virus was spread and how many residents died from the disease.

Shortly after Hochul took office, she announced that 12,000 more people died from COVID-19 in the state than had been reported. Under Cuomo, the state used a more conservative approach than the CDC to count COVID deaths.

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